Joan Jett Goes Back to Rock and Roll High School

The singer rocks a Washington high school as a motivational speaker.

By , Contributor
Is it just our imagination, or does everybody want Joan Jett lately? Two days ago, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready tweeted photos of Jett's Seattle concert and then posted a snapshot of the two of them posing backstage with goofy grins on their famous faces.

jett-mccready.jpgOprah had her on her show last month doing a duet with Mylie Cyrus on a medley of Jett's more recognizable tunes (with Oprah singing along to "Cherry Bomb") then American Idol and Dancing With the Stars both tried to convince the iconic rocker to put on her black leather pants and guest star on their shows - but she turned them down flat. Just like she did when Steven Tyler showed up outside her hotel room one night, stripped completely naked. "I'm not into big ten-inch, honey," she reportedly told the singer, slamming the door on him, according to the rather unexpectedly self-effacing admission in Tyler's New York Times best seller Does The Noise In My Head Bother You?

But against all expectations, Jett agreed to speak to 200 students at Scriber Lake Alternative High School in Edmonds, Washington, after a teacher invited her to visit.

"This person has a vision that I want my kids to see," said Gary Lange, English teacher at Scriber Lake who works with kids at risk for dropping out.

"Thirty-five years ago, she easily could've sat in my classroom," he said. On a whim, Lange sent an email to Jett's manager Kenny Laguna and, much to his great surprise, the musician accepted his invitation.

Good to her word, Jett showed up on time on Monday, May 23 dressed in elegant black rock attire with Laguna at her side and spoke to the students in her trademark throaty voice for an hour with the zeal of a motivational speaker, gripping the microphone like she was on a concert stage.

"People really expected me to toe the line as a girl," she told the students. "They said, 'Dress like a girl, act like a girl.' But you know what, I did what I wanted to do. And I loved it."

She encouraged students to try what may be difficult because even if they fail it'll make them stronger.

"We need more self-expression in this world," Jett said. "Not every day is going to be a good day.

As for how she felt about the visit? "I know that things I would say could have a big impact so I took it really seriously," she told King 5 News. "I was actually really nervous."

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Jaan Uhelszki was one of the founding editors at Detroit’s legendary Creem magazine. Since that time, her work has appeared in USA Today, Uncut, Rolling Stone, Spin, NME, Relix, and Guitar World. She is the only journalist to have ever performed in full makeup with Kiss. Luckily she only had to put…

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